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Studio City | VALLEY FOCUS

Feuer Nixes Hockey Rink at Rec Center

September 27, 1997|DADE HAYES

City Councilman Michael Feuer announced Friday he now opposes a plan to build a roller hockey rink at the Studio City Recreation Center and directed the city's Department of Recreation and Parks to study other possible sites.

Feuer's stance effectively killed the plan and capped months of bickering between park neighbors concerned about overdevelopment and other Studio City residents seeking an adequate venue for youth hockey leagues. The rink would have been the first roller hockey facility in a Los Angeles park. Until a few months ago, leagues had been allowed to play in the parking lot of the Studio City park.

"I have spent time at that park--literally with a tape measure, checking to see what the ramifications would be on the park and the neighborhood," Feuer said. "As I analyze all the factors pro and con, I think we should promote roller hockey, but in a different location."

Opponents of the rink proposal hailed the decision as a victory over what they predicted would be more noise and more traffic caused by excessive activity in the small neighborhood park.

"We thank Feuer for listening to us," said Mitchell Thomas, who lives near the park. "This was the best decision for the wider community."

Evan Kaizer, a parent of a hockey player and an organizer of the project, expressed deep disappointment.

"The true losers are the kids," he said. "The perimeter neighbors have the right to have a safe park and parking. But the community has an obligation to its kids. It's more important than any right. If we fail to fulfill that, we're doing them a disservice."

The $135,000 facility, which would have been adaptable to other sports, already had secured the approval of the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, and construction was imminent when Feuer intervened. Sharon Mayer, Feuer's San Fernando Valley deputy, said commission President Steven Soboroff wrote Feuer recently to concur with the councilman's position against locating the rink in Studio City.

About $25,000 for the project came from donations, with the rest secured through a grant and Proposition K funds. Kaizer said he was exploring the best route to satisfy donors. Some of the money will still be put to use at the park, while another portion could be returned to donors.

The effort to build a rink will continue, Kaizer said. "We'll have to digest and see where this all goes."

Four sites in Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks and North Hollywood are now under consideration. Feuer said he asked parks officials to complete the study within 30 days.

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